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Round-Up: 10 mSATA SSDs From Adata, Crucial, Mushkin, And OCZ

Mushkin Enhanced Atlas mSATA SSDs

Unlike Adata's XPG SX300 family, Mushkin's Enhanced Atlas line-up is available in three more familiar (at least for SandForce-based SSDs) capacities: 60, 120, and 240 GB. The Enhanced Atlas centers on the same second-gen controller, but Mushkin maintains over-provisioning on its models to help improve the speed with which these drives recover their performance, even when they're full.

Based on that distinction alone, we'd suspect the Atlas drives to be more performance-oriented than Adata's XPG SX300s. However, we also see that Mushkin arms its SSDs with Toggle-mode NAND from Toshiba. Based on that fact, these things should be quicker (at least in theory) than what we've already seen from Adata using the same controller.

Unfortunately, our first test, 4 KB random reads, don't support our supposition. All three models perform slightly worst than what we saw from the XPG SX300 family. And while we might have expected the impact of interleaving to lend the 120 GB drive better numbers than the 60 GB configuration, it's only at a queue depth of 32 that it differentiates itself. Mushkin's 256 GB version, in contrast, is faster at every queue depth.

It should come as no surprise that the Enhanced Atlas line-up yields results similar to Adata's XPG SX300s in our 4 KB random write test. If you hit these SSDs with compressible data, they're super-fast at high queue depths (though not notably more than the Adata models with synchronous NAND).

Unfortunately for Mushkin, performance in the face of incompressible data is actually worse from its Atlas drives than the competition from Adata. What makes this unfortunate? Well, as the fastest NAND interface available Toggle-mode-capable flash is supposed to be the most expensive. Technically, you'd pay more for a Mushkin Atlas with less usable capacity than a comparable Adata XPG X300. However, a quick spot check on Newegg reveals that, although Muskin's 60 GB model is more expensive, as we'd expect, its 120 and 240 GB SSDs actually cost less than the competition (by $20, in the case of the 240 GB drive).

Toggle-mode NAND does facilitate slightly better numbers in our 128 KB sequential read test, compared to the synchronous-equipped XPG SX300s. At all three capacity points, the benchmark results are similar.

That's not the case for sequential writes, though, where the Enhanced Atlas drives are a little slower than Adata's models when faced with compressible data.

Turning to incompressible information, the 120 and 240 GB models are slower than what we saw two pages ago, while Mushkin's 60 GB SSD is actually a bit faster than the 64 GB XPG SX300. Notice that all three Enhanced Atlas drives fall much closer to each other than the Adata versions did.